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10 Houseplants Poisonous To Dogs, Cats, or Children

Ask the Expert: what are the names of plants and flowers that are poisonous.
I work as a floral designer and I am asked all the time what plants and flowers are poison to animals and humans. Kelly

Reply:

Kelly,

First I want to clarify the difference between “poisonous as in deadly” and “poisonous as an irritant”. Many plants listed as poisonous are not deadly or really toxic, but rather cause an irritation to the mouth, stomach, skin or respiratory system. Why is this important? Because the classification of plants being poisonous is matter of interpretation and myths. For example, poinsettias are considered poisonous which is not all together true. There is no documented case where someone has died from ingesting a poinsettia. Secondly, the amount one a would have to ingest in order to accumulate the toxin level for death would be immense. However, poinsettias can cause great irritation to the skin or mouth.

When we discuss poisonous houseplants, we should take the approach that the American Animal Hospital Association takes on its Healthypet.com site with regards to its guide to toxic plants and foods. They state, “If you have these plants or foods, you need not dispose of them-just keep them away from pets and children.” Of course, plants that are deadly may not need to be in the home of small children or young pets. However, plants that can cause irritation or stomach upset may only need to be placed somewhere pets and children can’t reach them.

Here is a quick top 10 guide to plant toxicity for florists (note there may be plants that are carried by florists that are not listed. In these cases you will have to research that specific plant or email me and I will find out and add it to the list).

Houseplants with High Poison Plant Classification

Dwarf Schefflera

Dwarf Schefflera

Green Schefflera

Green Schefflera

Variegated Dwf Schefflera

Variegated Dwf Schefflera

Dumb Cane

Dumb Cane

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendron

Tree Philodendron

Tree Philodendron

Red Princess Phildendron

Red Princess Phildendron

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

According to many sources these ten houseplants are highly toxic to dogs, cats or children. The toxicity resides in ingesting the plants. So it is important to keep these away from dogs, cats or children who might chew on them. They are all wonderful plants and should not be excluded from our lives as long as we keep them under appropriate supervision.

Flowers that are considered highly poisonous are: Foxglove (Digitalis), Amaryllis bulb, Bleeding heart, Lily-of-the-valley, Delphinium, Larkspur, Monkshood, Anthurium, lilies and Calla lily. Many times with flowers it is the bulb from which they come that is toxic if eaten by a dog or a cat.

There are other houseplants and flowers that are considered a mild or moderate risk. Although not a complete list by any means, this is a short break down of plants or flowers that cause a mild or moderate irritation or toxicity in dogs, cats or children:

Peace lily, Chinese evergreen, Benjamin fig, Corn Plant, Dracaenas, Nephthytis, rubber plant, Pothos,
English Ivy, Mother-in-law tongue, Azlaea, Croton, Easter Lily, Hyacinth, Daffodils, Chrysanthemum, Bird of Paradise, iris, lupine.

You can find more information on the Healthypet.com prevent poisonings page or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Page.

Hopefully this information will help you and your customers select the appropriate houseplants and flowers for their specific situation.

I have had many of these plants and flowers in my home. Fortunately for me my puppies found that these plants were not interesting and did not taste good. I don’t worry about having “poisonous” plants in my home or yard. I do make a mental note of plants that can be harmful in case my vet needs to know my dogs have been exposed to.

Click on the button below to find the right house plant for your home. Flowering house plants keep us smiling and cheery; green house plants ease our minds and provide comfort, while tropical house plants make us feel composed and sophisticated.

If you don’t see a particular plant on the lists above. Contact me for a more comprehensive list.


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Is Insecticidal Soap Poisonious To Dogs?

Ask the Expert: Should I worry about Chemicals I put on my plant?
Hi I have a parlor palm it looks like from the pictures. My cavalier spaniel decided it would be good for breakfast.  I did read that they are not poisoness to dogs. But, my concern is that around 2 weeks ago I sprayed it with insecticidal soap for a white fuzzy sticky problem it has. Would that all have been soaked in and of no harm to my dog.  Just wanted to check. I put it up on a table when I spray until its dry.  Just worried because we caught her eating it and she ate quite a bit and then threw up green foam.   Thanks, Dee

Curiosity Killed the Cat But What About a Peace Lily

Ask the Expert: is a peace lily poisonous to cats

i think my son’s cat ate the tips of the leaves of my peace lily.  Emily

How Do I Love Sansevieria Plants? Let Me Count The Ways!

When I think of houseplants that are easy to care for, simple for beginners to gardening, and rather enjoyable to behold, I count Mother-in-law’s Tongue among the tally. This starter houseplant is amazing! It is tolerant of slight neglect, only needs to be watered moderately, prefers partial shade but can survive in full Arkansas sun (the proof is in the picture), and grows quickly so that I have a beautiful plant to look upon for months at a time! Thankfully, I’ve discovered that you can also buy Mother-In-Law’s Tongue houseplants for nearly anyone because of just how simple it is to care for them!

I’ll admit it. I traded a green thumb for other talents. While I still contend that the powers that be have brilliantly gifted me with these, it does my heart no good to enjoy a home with pitiful-looking houseplants. For people like me who have had to earn our gardening merits, a really great basic is the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue houseplant. With the ability to produce beautiful white to cream-colored blooms next to the bold interweaving of light and dark green striped leaves, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue beautifully completes the décor of any home or garden.

Also known as Snake Plant or by its scientific name, Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue delivers boldly striped beauty in a very proud fashion for homes needing a subtle dash of attitude in the home décor. Unfortunately, my house is filled to the brim with this type of confident charm and our houseplants need only add casual visual appeal. The good news for me is that Mother-In-Law’s Tongue houseplants can be stylish, subtle, casual, bold, decorated creatively, or used just to add color to a bland room. The sky, rather the ceiling I suppose, is the limit with Snake Plant houseplants.

My good friend Jamie Jamison Adams of the Ask The Expert blogs has proven that Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is also a very sustainable garden plant. Even better! Arkansas heat can sometimes feel like Calcutta in July only more humid. Though typically thriving in indirect light, Jamie’s Sansevieria plant accents her garden and has bloomed nicely in full sun and a healthy dose of Arkansas heat. While Jamie is an expert plant care provider, experienced gardeners, beginning gardeners and everyone in between should feel at ease with caring for Mother-In-Law’s Tongue plants. Busy lives seem only to be getting busier. For the busiest of us all, these plants are simple and hardly time-consuming, in other words, perfect houseplants!

Snake Plant Bloom.jpg Buy Sansevieria For Your Garden!

A Dog, a Cat and a Peace Lily — Fun and Games or Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Ask the Expert: Is a Peace Lily poisonous to pets.

I have one and caught my pet bitting it. Tina

Kalanchoe

Ask the Expert: what kind of plant is this? is it safe for pets?

I can’t find it on the internet….it’s one of the only things I can grow inside and not kill, because I’m not very good with house plants. Also, I’m keeping it away from my cats since I don’t know what it is or if it’s poisonous. Could you tell me what it is called, and if it’s safe for pets?

Thank you,

Lee Ann / Fort Worth

Kalanchoe

Lee Ann,

You have a Kalanchoe. Although I haven’t heard of any cats having a problem with Kalanchoe, it is listed as a plant that has some toxicity for cats. According to the ASPCA poison plant list “This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate”.  Dogs can also be affected.  However, it is my understanding that they would have to ingest a fair dose to cause severe problems.  Most animals stay away from the plants that are bad for them.  Azaleas are listed as toxic to dogs, but my dogs have lived around Azalea for six years.  If you have a very curious cat who likes to chew on inappropriate items, I would keep it away from the Kalanchoe.

Deer, Deer Go Away and Let Me Kept My Flowers One More Day

Ask the Expert: In our small town we have a problem with deer. Each section of town seems to have it’s own herd. They eat all our fir trees and now eat tomatoes plants,green peppers and even marigolds. We have tried different ways to keep them away.ie. human hair different sprays and nothing seems to work. Any suggestion?Please contact me if you can help. Thanks Judie

Will Lucky Bamboo Harm FIDO?

ask the expert

I was wandering if Lucky Bamboo plants are harmful to cats & dogs? My co worker is looking in purchasing one.

Easter Lillies and Cats Do They Mix?

“The National Animal Poison Control Center says that certain types of lilies can cause renal failure in cats that have ingested any part of the lily. Flower Shop Network recommends keeping lilies out of the reach of cats. It is important to note that lilies do not pose a problem for other pets or humans.”